Out of all the questions that we’ve received for the Pilea plant, the most common one is ‘what soil is best for Pilea peperomioides’? Well, that’s indeed a complex question.
When it comes to selecting a potting mix for pilea plants, it is possible to get a bit overwhelmed, considering all the options available in the supermarket and online. That’s not all. We also need to take several factors into consideration, such as the drainage of the soil, its pH value, nutrient content of the soil, and so on.
But your worry ends here. Whether you’ve just got a baby Pilea plant to your house or want to repot a fully-grown one, we’ll help you pick the best soil for your Pilea or Chinese money plant.
Well-drained soil is the best soil for your Pilea peperomioides or Chinese money plant. Never make the mistake of keeping your Pilea in soggy soil. They just cannot stand it. If you’re looking for a good potting mix for your pilea, you can go for a succulent blend or add some pumice or perlite to the potting mix you already have at home. It will increase the drainage capacity of your soil.
Things To Keep In Mind While Planting Pilea Peperomioides:
Before picking or whipping a soil mix for your Pilea peperomioides or Chinese money plant, you need to keep a couple of things in mind.
You Can Pick Succulent Soil For You Pilea:
Pilea peperomioides are members of Urticaceae family, which technically make them perennial, evergreen succulents. Therefore, you can use the same type of soil used for other succulents, i.e., well-drained and porous soil that dries quickly.
Do Not Put It In Soggy Soil:
This is the most important factor you need to keep in mind while picking a soil mix for Pilea peperomioides. Pilea plants are very sensitive to soggy soil. In fact, soggy soil is one of the top reasons behind sad and unhealthy Chinese money plants.
Do Not Overwater:
Pilea plants cannot sit in soggy soil, so you must avoid overwatering it. Water your Chinese money plant only when the top two inches of the soil feel dry. Excessively wet soil can also lead to root rot, a fungus that kills the plants.
Pick Pots With Drainage Holes:
It’s not just the soil that matters. You need to pick pots with drainage holes to facilitate draining. Drainage holes allow the soil to drain faster.
Go For A Peat Based Soil:
Most of the ready-to-use potting mixes for houseplants contain peat as their base. For those who are not aware, peat is a fibrous material formed when living organisms such as moss decompose in peat bags. Peat-based potting mixes are lightweight, great at holding moisture, and of course, affordable. They are highly preferred for their ability to provide an acidic growing environment to houseplants.
The only issue with peat-based soil mixes is that it decomposes at a relatively faster rate. And when that happens, it becomes compacted and prevents roots from accessing water and oxygen.
What Is The Best Soil For Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Money Plant?
A good soil for the Chinese money plant or Pilea peperomioides should be well-drained, should provide required nutrients to the plant, and must allow the roots to get oxygen. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve whipped up the best soil or potting mix recipe for your Pilea peperomioides.
Soil Recipe For Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Money Plant:
Here’s a wonderful soil recipe for Pilea plants that you can make at home by tweaking the potting mix that you already own. But try this method only if you have prior experience with creating soil from scratch.
To improve the structural root support of your Pilea and prevent root rot, you can make a mix combining coco coir, perlite, and peat moss.
Perlite is often added to potting mixes as it keeps it light and airy. But since it doesn’t contain any nutrients, we would recommend you keeping it just 20 percent or under of the potting mix.
Cocoa coir or coconut fiber, which is the outer husk of the coconut, is highly recommended to keep the soil lightweight and improve its water retention capacity. But even coco coir does not contain any nutrients, so keep this ingredient also under 20 percent of the total quantity.
Now take a bucket or bowl and add peat moss, coco fiber, and perlite and mix it thoroughly with the soil.
Potting Mix For Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Money Plant:
If you’re not adept at making soil at home or you’re a new plant parent, we would suggest you start with readymade potting soil mixes that are available in-stores and online. These potting mixes contain everything that a houseplant needs. The primary ingredient used in most potting soils is sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum peat moss makes an excellent base for potting mix, but you need to add limestone to it to balance its pH value and the other nutrients that are added for your plants.
But for Pilea peperomioides Or Chinese money plant, you may have to go with succulent or cactus mix. Potting mix meant for succulents are ideal for Pileas as they do not retain too much water and drain quickly. Just add pumice or perlite and you’re sorted.
Perlite is a mined volcanic rock that grows bigger in size when it is heated, and it’s due to this very reason that it looks like a tiny, white Styrofoam ball. Perlite is added to improve the drainage of the soil.
Pumice is also quite like perlite and helps improve the drainage of the soil. But since it is heavier than perlite, it does not rise to the top of the mix after watering.
Make a mix using 4 parts of soil and 1 part of pumice or perlite. Both the ingredients will get the job done so don’t waste much time pondering which one would be best for your plant. If you want, you can experiment with the mixture to see which one would work best for your soil.
Which Pot Or Container Should I Pick For My Pilea Plant?
Now that you’ve figured the potting mix or soil for your pilea plant, it’s time to move to pots and containers. Just like the soil, drainage is an important factor to consider while picking a pot or container as well. Hence, you must always pick pots and containers that have drainage holes.
Terracotta pots would make a good choice for your Chinese money plant as they are readily available, inexpensive, and adsorb water at a fast rate, allowing the soil to dry out as soon as possible. Sure, ceramic and plastic pots look better but they are not as forgiving as terracotta pots.
You must also keep the size of your plant in mind while picking a pot. It’s always advisable to go for a pot just one size bigger than your plant. If your pot is a lot bigger than the plant, the soil will take longer to dry out. Since pilea plants are very sensitive to water, this can lead to root rot.
So while repotting a new plant, pick a pot that is as close to size as the plastic pot it came in. For repotting the plant in the future, you can pick pots that are 1-3 inches bigger in size than the previous pot.
When Should I Repot My Pilea Plant?
Since Pilea peperomioides do not grow at a very fast rate, you do not have to repot it often. Pilea plants or Chinese money plants can grow for a year or more in their original pots before being needed to be repotted. After the first repotting, you can repot or replant it every two years. It may sound a long time, but believe us, it’s perfect for Pilea peperomioides. But remember, repotting is necessary because, with time, the potting mix becomes compacted and starts losing nutrients.
As for baby Pilea plants, we would suggest you wait until the plantlets are two to three inches tall. It will make them strong enough for touching and handling. The larger the babies get, the better are their chances of surviving without the mother plant.
FAQs About Soil for Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Money Plant
What is the best store-bought cactus soil mix for Pilea peperomioides Or Chinese money plant?
If you are looking for a cactus potting mix for your Pilea peperomioides, you can go with Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Mix. This potting mix contains sand, perlite, and peat moss and is formulated with Miracle-Gro plant food as well.
Another excellent alternative would be Hoffman’s Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix. This one contains peat, peat moss, perlite, sand, and limestone, making it perfect for succulents and succulent-like plants.
Just ensure you follow the instructions written on the packet of both these potting mixes for optimum results.
In which season should I repot my Pilea plant?
Pileas are best repotted in early spring or summer. Just like most houseplants, even pileas grow best during the warmer months of the season. The growth slows down during winters and they even become dormant. So whether you’re repotting, pruning or relocating, it’s best done during summers, its growing season.
Picking the perfect soil for your Pilea plant wouldn’t be easy. Like every process, even this one would involve trial and error. So feel free to experiment with the combinations until you get the perfect soil for your Chinese money plant. The easiest option would be to go for a succulent or cactus potting mix. If you can’t get hold of it, make your own soil mix for the Pilea plant.
We hope you find our article on the best soil for Pilea peperomioides helpful. Tell us what works best for your Pilea plant by commenting below.
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.